Samuel de Champlain was a French explorer,
navigator, and mapmaker. He explored much of eastern
Canada and became known as the father of New France,
which was the French part of Canada.
Champlain was born in Brouage, France. As a boy he
learned how to navigate ships, and became a naval
captain, like his father.
In 1603 he went on his first voyage to Canada, as
geographer on a fur-trading expedition. He travelled up
the Saguenay, St. Lawrence, and Richelieu rivers and used
the information he collected to make a very accurate map
of Canada from Hudson Bay in the north down to the Great
In 1604 Champlain made his second trip to North
America. He was looking for a place where French people
could make a permanent settlement. Champlain remained for
three years, exploring the Atlantic coast from the Bay of
Fundy down to Cape Cod.
On his third trip in 1608, Champlain founded a settlement
and trading post along the St. Lawrence River that
eventually became the city of Quebec. It was the first
permanent white settlement in Canada, which makes Quebec
the oldest city in Canada.
He spent most of the rest of his life going back and
forth between France and Canada. His goals were to map
North America, find a quicker way to get to the Pacific
Ocean, and teach North American natives about
In 1629 Quebec was captured by the English and Champlain
was taken to England as a prisoner. When Canada was
returned to France in 1633 he returned to his trading
post and remained in Quebec until his death on Christmas
Day in 1635.